Da Costa says he had to turn things around after Monaco FE pole

Antonio Felix da Costa says Monaco marks the time to “either throw our towel on the floor” or “pick ourselves up” in his bid to defend the Formula E title.

Antonio Felix Da Costa, DS Techeetah, DS E-Tense FE21

The reigning champion landed pole on the full Monaco grand prix circuit by 0.012s over Envision Virgin Racing driver Robin Frijns in a session when just 0.059s split the top four. 

That marked the DS Techeetah racer’s second first-place in three races, having inherited the position in Valencia last month when Stoffel Vandoorne had his time deleted when a tyre serial number was incorrectly catalogued.  

But the Portuguese enters the Monaco E-Prix only 14th in the standings, 33 points behind leader Nyck de Vries, having scored only one podium in the six races so far. 

Da Costa called on himself and the team to use the race in the principality as the “time to turn this thing around” or else throw in the towel.  

He said: “Nothing is really going wrong, but we’ve just done really small mistakes which have led to big losses of points - myself, the team, altogether.  

“This is where we find ourselves. This is where we either throw our towel on the floor or we pick ourselves back up. The team has shown a great resilience.” 

He added that because of the poor results so far in 2021, he did not drive flat out on his Monaco qualifying lap nor paid any attention to the lap time of teammate Jean-Eric Vergne. 

Da Costa explained: “I went like 99% because I’m just not in a place right now, with the way we’ve built our season up to here, to really go full beans and risk touching a wall. 

“I was comfortable with what I needed to do. I said ‘I am not going to look for lap time anymore’.” 

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Two-time Macau Grand Prix victor Da Costa added that he had felt as though preparation for Monaco was like that of the famous Chinese single-seater race.  

“We’ve been trying to kickstart this season since we had a pretty slow start. I have to say, all week I have been wanting this super bad. 

“I’ve had this like Macau Grand Prix feeling all week. Putting so much pressure on myself.  

“I’ve been working mentally to keep that under control one step at a time.  

“Two [poles] in three rounds is great, it shows we do have the pace. We’ve had a slow start to the championship.  

“Not that we’ve not been quick, but not really concluding and executing the races well.” 

Da Costa had led the opening Valencia E-Prix on the Saturday until the last lap when he and many of his rivals hit critical energy limits and either stopped on track or were disqualified.  

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